In celebration of Black History Month, Emjay is presenting a series of interviews with game-changing founders of Black-owned cannabis brands.
Below, Terryn Niles Buxton, founder of Oakland Extracts, discusses how he is striving to build a more community-driven cannabis industry—in addition to being a purveyor of top-notch weed that’s accessible to all.
Q: When and how did you first get started in the cannabis industry?
A: I got my start in the legal cannabis industry in 2007 in cultivation. But I was active in the informal cannabis market starting in sales in 1993.
What are some of the greatest challenges you faced building your business?
Lack of access to capital has always been and still is the biggest hurdle.
How would you sum up the story your brand is telling?
Oakland Extracts is all about top-shelf quality at an everyday price. We are here to promote Oakland and to use the opportunities the cannabis industry provides to lift up our community.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve witnessed or experienced in the cannabis industry over the years?
Crazy taxes and the consolidation of small businesses have been the biggest changes. Losing so many of our small mom-and-pop producers has truly hurt the quality available. Losing so many legacy operators has stolen much of the heart from the cannabis industry. Recreational sales overtaking medical has changed the tone. Few budtenders are trained to talk about the medical benefits of cannabis anymore.
What do you see as the most important role of cannabis in our culture?
The most important role of cannabis in our culture is difficult to quantify. Empowering people to create their own plant medicine and wean themselves off of harmful pharmaceuticals is huge. The cannabis industry has allowed many people to create businesses that reflect their values and support their community. Sharing cannabis is sacred. The building of community and culture that comes with that sharing is critical. Herb spreads love.
What are your proudest accomplishments with your brand and/or business?
The proudest accomplishment of Oakland Extracts has been the ability to use the money we make to invest in other community-based organizations and individuals. Supporting Operation E.V.A.C, Weed for Warriors, and SuperNova Women has been an honor and a privilege. We built this company to create change in our community and to impact the lives here. Nothing makes us feel better than to meet someone who tells us that watching us build shows them a path. The biggest accomplishment of Oakland Extracts is community building.
Launching new products and creating dope events that bring our community together.